What Does a Sustainable Restaurant Look Like?

The People's Supermarket

Celebrity chef Arthur Potts Dawson’s TED talk was recently posted, and is well worth a watch. His two sustainable restaurants, Acorn House and Water House, are furnished using recycled plastics, reclaimed wood, and rummage sale cushions (donated by his mum, who found the Norwegian Forestry-certified benches too hard). Water House, the more recently opened of the two, is actually a zero-carbon restaurant: Built next to a canal, it is entirely heated, cooled, and powered by hydroelectricity and heat exchange.

Potts Dawson’s passion is waste minimization. In the talk, he explains that his menu at Acorn House was created to allow “people to choose the amount and the volume of food that they wanted to consume, rather than me putting a dish down, and them being allowed to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted.”

Later on, and with evident pride, he shows slides of his “dehydrating, desiccating macerator,” which turns food waste into a kind of vegetable jerky so that he can store it to compost later. His excitement is only slightly dimmed by the fact that when he experimentally added the jerky to his wormery, all the worms died.

His newest project, The People’s Supermarket, opened earlier this year in central London. I visited it last week, and it’s definitely still finding its way, but there are already several clever waste-reduction schemes in place, including an on-site kitchen so that as food nears its sell-by-date, co-op members can extend its shelf life by making it into prepared dishes.

Potts Dawson promises to open at least three more restaurants in this talk. Meanwhile, let’s hope other restaurant owners and chefs are inspired to follow his example.

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FOODA – Associazione per il Food Design – è un’organizzazione di progettisti, studiosi, comunicatori, aziende e istituzioni con fuoco sullo studio, la progettazione e l’innovazione degli Atti Alimentari. FOODA promuove la cultura progettuale degli Atti Alimentari assolvendola a elemento culturale, economico e ambientale di fondamentale importanza per la società contemporanea e futura, dando impulso all’innovazione di processo e di prodotto e potenziando le competenze degli operatori del settore. Obiettivo di FOODA è definire la disciplina del Food Design, il ruolo e le competenze del Food Designer; incrementare la consapevolezza, lo studio, la ricerca e l’interdisciplinarietà all’interno del paradigma degli Atti Alimentari promuovendo una corretta gestione e una progettazione sostenibile dei processi, dei prodotti e degli immaginari legati al cibo. FOODA intende perseguire i suoi obiettivi per mezzo di iniziative culturali, progetti di studio e ricerca autonomi e in cooperazione con enti e aziende, fornendo formazione e informazione professionale ai suoi soci, consulenza specializzata agli operatori del settore.

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